The Yankees weren’t great in July but they weren’t that bad either. They won exactly three-fifths (15-10) of their games. They suffered a fall of form from lead pitcher Luis Severino and most of the bullpen which meant the batters needed to turn it up a notch. Let’s see who did:
|New York Yankees 2018 – Batting – Month – July|
The struggling Gary Sanchez had gone onto the disabled list (DL) in June but returned to availability on the 19th of July after struggling through a rehab assignment at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Raildriders in the middle of the month. The news didn’t get any better after that. He played in three games and produced performances which were really no better than before – particularly one game on the 24th when his signals behind the plate drew the ire of battery-mate Severino leading to a visible-to-cameras dugout argument. There was also his failure to run hard enough to base which brought the game to a premature ending in a Yankees loss just when a rally seemed to be on the cards. The rest of the month (beginning and end), the catching duties were shared between Austin Romine and the recalled Kyle Higashioka. The offensively weak Higashioka finally got his first major league hit of the season and managed to produce a novelty trivia fact as all his first three major league hits of the year went over the outfield fence in fair territory. On the 7th of the month, he finally got his first (and only) single of the month. Romine, as always, saw his offensive stats slide when he was called on to play most days. The Yankees didn’t bring in any extra catching help by the end-of-the-month non-waiver trading deadline. They have chosen to stay as they are and hope that Sanchez is a different man – offensively, defensively and in terms of his attitude – when he returns sometime in August.
Greg Bird appeared in 21 games at 1st base in July and added in an additional 2 games at designated hitter (DH) for good measure. His batting showed a significant improvement during the month with a .265 batting average and 8 extra base hits including 4 home runs. Neil Walker and Brandon Drury both saw some limited time at first base too but were both mostly used elsewhere. More on Walker in a moment but here enough to note that the struggling Brandon Drury will be earning his corn in Toronto in the future as he departed for the Canadian outfit alongside Billy McKinney who played a little in the majors for the Yankees early in the season. Coming in the opposite direction was J.A. Happ who will be a significant addition to the Yankees pitching rotation.
One significant gap in both the defensive and offensive abilities of the Yankees was rookie Gleyber Torres who spent some 20 days on the 10-day DL. He was placed on that list on the 5th of July with a strained right hip and wasn’t available again until the 25th after a rehab assignment at Tampa Tarpons. Around that period, he hit .267 in 10 appearances. The bulk of time at second base consequently was divided between Neil Walker (11 appearances) and the recalled Tyler Wade (9 appearances). Both showed their abilities extremely well during this brief period. However, Walker’s performance had the edge and it was the younger Wade who was reassigned to make room for Torres when he was fit.
Both Walker and the aforementioned Drury saw a little time at the hot corner too. But as you would expect the lion’s share of time at third-base when to Miguel Andujar. Perhaps less expectedly there was some talk before the transfer deadline of the Yankees bringing in a major name to play at third. Most often mentioned was Manny Machado and it is likely that if Machado was going to move to an American League club then the Yankees would have made a more determined effort. As it was the Yankees watched as Manny went to the Los Angeles Dodgers and commendably Andujar showed no signs of being phased or disturbed by the rumours. He hit .330 with 8 extra base hits in the month.
Gleyber Torres and Tyler Wade picked up a little unexpected time at shortstop but Didi Gregorius’ .292 and a team-leading 11 extra base hits showed exactly why the Yankees rely on him in that role.
Five players were used at leftfield with Brett Gardner making 19 appearances there as well as 6 in centre-field. His batting average took a dip this month, hitting .237 during July. On the other side of the coin, he had a little more power than he had shown at times this season – 8 extra base hits with 4 homers. Others seeing time near the leftfield wall were Clint Frazier, Shane Robinson, Giancarlo Stanton and even Tyler Wade who showed his versatility this month while he was with the big-league club. Frazier was called up on the 7th of the month but within 10 days, he was back on the 7-day concussion DL with a problem that had plagued him earlier in the season. He batted a miserable .143 during his time in the Bronx. This meant that when Aaron Judge was hit by a pitched ball (HBP) late in the month, it gave an opportunity for a little playing time for Robinson who had already been called up to give the Yankees an extra option. Robinson’s 5 at bats were handled well and he produced a .400 BA during his time.
Aaron Hicks in centre field had a good month producing a .271 batting average and 10 extra base hits. His 6 home runs included a 3 round-trip night on the 1st of the month against the Red Sox.
That HBP I mentioned was enough to fracture a bone in Aaron Judge’s right wrist and land him on the DL on the 27th. He was still the player who was used most in the right field and batted .329 with 2 doubles and 5 home-runs. The Yankees will be hoping that when he returns (medical opinion puts it at about 3-4 weeks) he will be able to recapture that form quickly. Giancarlo Stanton, Neil Walker and Shane Robinson also saw time in right-field.
Giancarlo Stanton saw 11 appearances at DH, 11 appearances in right-field and 3 appearances in left. He is now producing very solidly with this month seeing a .323 BA with 9 extra base hits. Ironically, as last season’s National League MVP, he is still very much in Judge’s shadow in New York, but the fans are appreciating what he is doing now.
Judge, himself, was used 8 times at DH and roughly the same amount of time at the position was divided between Walker, Bird, Drury, Andujar, Sanchez and Hicks.
Arriving at the club prior to the trading deadline was Luke Voit from the St Louis Cardinals who is likely to be a short-term bit player to give the Yankees a little extra depth at 1B and DH.
Still no sign of a return for long-term absentee Jacoby Ellsbury.